Everyone (including some Wyoming fans) had the Cowboys written off for the 2016 season. I know I did. We were coming off a 2-10 season and there really wasn’t much to be excited about.
I’ll admit it: I didn’t have much confidence in the team by the time the conference games rolled around. The NIU game was a fluke and Josh made some very dumb mistakes against Nebraska.
Let’s run through that conference schedule, shall we?
10/1/16 - WYO @ CSU, 35-17
In the last Border War in Hughes, the Cowboys made a statement. They snapped a streak of three straight Border War losses to the Rams.
Brian Hill became the Cowboys’ all-time leading rusher, passing Devin Moore on a 39 yard carry.
Chase Appleby had a Piesman moment with his 55 yard interception return
Look at that big man go.
10/8/16 - WYO vs. AFA, 35-26
Air Force came into Laramie with an undefeated record. Wyoming was above .500 for the first time in over two (!!!) years. Something had to give.
Wyoming slammed the door on Air Force’s triple option while picking off Nate Romine three times and forcing a fumble.
Josh Allen threw for 173 yards and three touchdowns while adding another 74 yards on the ground.
10/29/16 - WYO vs. #13 BSU, 30-28
That is all.
11/12/16 - WYO @ UNLV, 66-69
Sorry, force of habit.
Wyoming took their first conference loss in one of the most exciting shootouts of the entire college football season.
Kurt Palendech and Allen combined for 775 yards of offense and eight touchdowns.
The Big 12 would be proud.
11/19/16 - WYO vs. SDSU, 34-33
Wyoming beat its second top-25 team in three games in yet another edge-of-your-seat game.
The game started off as an uphill battle. Rashaad Penny returned the opening kickoff 93-yards for a touchdown.
Wyoming didn’t grab its first lead until 1:07 left in the game. And they really didn’t try that hard to keep it.
San Diego embarked on a 99 yard, eleven play drive that culminated in a 23 yard touchdown. The attempt to go for two was batted down and Wyoming stood the victor.
12/3/16 - WYO vs. SDSU, 24-27 (Mountain West Championship Game)
On a freezing night at the War, Wyoming couldn’t pull out its usual fourth quarter magic.
Wyoming jumped out to an early 10-0 lead before allowing 24 unanswered points. Tanner Gentry and C.J. Johnson both hauled in touchdown passes, but the Cowboys turned the ball over on downs twice within the last minute and a half.
12/21/16 - WYO vs. BYU, 21-24 (Poinsettia Bowl)
It was truly a tale of two halves.
In the rain of the first half, Wyoming had 124 total yards of offense.
In the (much drier) second half, they had 258.
Wyoming allowed themselves to get into an early deficit before storming back late in the fourth quarter.
A late interception sealed the game for BYU.
This season’s team MVP has to be split between Allen and Hill. There’s no way I can justify giving it to one without acknowledging the other.
Brian Hill had himself a monster year, rushing for 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns. The junior from Illinois had at least 100 yards of offense in ten games and topped 200 rushing yards in two of them.
He rode this wave of success to a first-team all-conference selection and will be turning pro.
Good luck in the NFL, B-Heezy.
Josh Allen, who will not be going to the draft, played his butt off, passing for 3,203 yards. Brett Rypien was the only quarterback to have more.
Allen had the most touchdown passes as well, with 28. He also led the conference in interceptions (15), which isn’t as good.
Allen was probably the brightest star on the 2016 Cowboys and will most likely be thee same on the 2017 Cowboys, a team that’s losing not only its starting running back, but two defensive stars, their three top receivers, a punter, and a couple offensive linemen, among others.
The 2016 was the best that Cowboys fans have seen in a while, and was certainly welcome after last year’s 2-10 disaster. There’s plenty of time to think about the interception and the failed drives in the last two games, but there’s even more time to think about the good things.
See you next time.